Gardening can be a tremendously enjoyable and rewarding activity. But it can also be the source of accidents, many of which can be preventable. Most accidents happen when gardeners take shortcuts, lack the skill or training to do a job properly, ignore potential risks, don't plan well or just have plain old bad luck.
While lawnmower accidents top the list of reported incidents, flowerpots (surprisingly) are the second highest cause of incidents: falling on people, cutting them or being the source of lifting injuries.
Most accidents can be avoided just by using a little common sense, and while the ideas below may seem obvious to some, it's amazing how easy it is to forget them when we are wrapped up in a project.
Start by making your garden a safer place to enjoy. Design a garden that reduces the need for high maintenance.
Double check for potential tripping hazards such as hoses, sprinklers, irrigation pipes and lose slabs of paving. When designing walkways or patios, incorporate surfaces that provide a good grip and aren't slippery when wet.
Avoid the garden when conditions are slippery. Don't leave sharp tools lying around--and if you are swapping tools, be sure to put the ones not in use with the sharp side (or tines) down.
I'm sure we've all seen the cartoons of people stepping on a rake and knocking themselves in the face...but that's only funny in a cartoon.
Don't use electrical tools in wet weather, and make sure to wear safety equipment such as safety goggles, ear plugs and gloves when operating them. Also tuck in loose items of clothing.
Be careful with poisonous plants--make sure that children and pets can be kept away from them. Lock away chemicals like pesticides and weed killers, or at least store them out of reach of children and pets.
Never leave a barbeque unattended while cooking, and make sure flames are extinguished before you go inside.
Empty wading pools after your children have finished playing in them. Avoid building a pond until a child is at least five years old and position it where it can be seen from the house.
Grow plants around the deeper sides of a pond to help prevent children getting near the edge, or build a fence around it to keep them out.
Make sure ladders are put away or hung up when not in use. Ensure that the ladder is in working condition and the steps are structurally sound before using it.
Never leave tools on the platform at the top of the ladder where they can cause injury if the ladder is accidentally bumped. Don't leave clippings on the rungs of the ladder where they might cause you to slip or trip.
When using a ladder, make sure it is tall enough to do the job. Be aware of the safety marks for standing on your ladder, and make sure it has rubber feet for solid footing. Always place your ladder on level, solid, non-slippery ground.
Face your work and never lean sideways, overstretch or stand too high on the ladder. Keep one hand firmly on the ladder at all times.
Gardening should be fun and shouldn't be dangerous. Taking a few minutes to exercise caution will make gardening a much more enjoyable experience.
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